Question: "Which features overcomplicate Swift? What should be removed?"
I really can’t think of anything! This is a tough question…
See, Objective-C first had quirky memory management. It was overly expressive, method names were just too long. Blocks sort-of worked, but they weren’t real closures. There wasn’t a lot of safety built in, and I don’t regard it as a productive, fun to work with, language. Regardless, it got the job done.
Then, Swift came along.
Here’s what I like about Swift:
- Optionals. Tricky at first, I thought: can’t we just leave all the !’s and ?’s and just get back to check if a variable is nil? Then, I realized optionals make your code stronger, by checking at compile-time whether a variable is not empty and usable.
- Closures. Great for throwing in code that’s not part of your code structure.
- Generics. Sort-of closures turned inside-out, writing code that has a specific goal or intent regardless of what types you put in.
- Optional chaining. How many times did I write numerous if-statements to dig into a JSON structure to find out whether a variable existed? Not anymore!
Then, Swift is expressive and concise, which makes it easier to pick up for beginner developers. The language grows with you as you learn, and has plenty of fun stuff for advanced developers. And code doesn’t need to be rewritten from ObjC to Swift, thanks to the bridging headers, any library out there is usable in a Swift project.
One point of critique? Well, the compiler tends to get slow on bigger projects, especially when you do compiler-heavy stuff like type inference. And, random Xcode crashes occur from time to time. But on Swift itself? Nope.
I think Swift was made to alleviate the overcomplication of Objective-C, and to give app developers a language that’s not invented in 1983.
Join 11.000+ app developers and marketers
- Get a weekly curated list of app development tools, articles and resources in your inbox
- 10x your app installs with relevant App Store Optimization and app marketing strategies
- BONUS: Grab a free copy of the App Toolbox 2017 to supercharge your next app project
Comments & Thoughts
On The Blog
Building an Instagram-Like App with Parse and Swift
Parse, the mobile app platform, has one particularly interesting product: Parse Core. One of its features allows app developers to store data in the cloud, without worrying about setting up servers and designing a REST API. Parse Core is also locally backed, like Core Data, which makes it a very good solution for online-offline back-ends. This tutorial explains how to create an app that’s backed by Parse. We’ll create an Instagram-like app.
Coding Guide: Building An In-App Message Center With Slack (With Video)
Let's combine 2 of the hottest things in the app world with each other: an in-app Message Center and Slack. In this guide, I'll show you how you can code a stand-alone Message Center into your app.
App Failure: Match Around for Location-Based Dating
In the spring of 2011 I started working on an app concept called Match Around, it's GPS-based real-life matching and dating. Together with a marketing agency I worked out the first version of the application, tested it at a music festival and even pitched it to a multinational. What led to the demise of this app?